Today Forrester is releasing a report entitled “Key Trends in B2B eCommerce for 2013” that, for the first time in over 10 years, sizes the US business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce market in the US. Forrester estimates that by the end of 2013, customer-facing front-end B2B eCommerce will reach $559 billion. This figure includes transactions placed online (independent of whether payment is taken online or not), but does exclude EDI-based commerce.
By comparison, US B2C eCommerce will be a $252B market–which would make B2B eCommerce fully twice the size of B2C eCommerce. In addition to sizing the US B2B eCommerce market, “Key Trends in B2B eCommerce for 2013” explores three important trends in B2B eCommerce for the coming year:
- Ever-Growing Demand For B2C-like B2B eCommerce Experiences. With key B2C sites having set a high standard for what constitutes a compelling online customer experience, B2B eCommerce companies are now actively retooling their existing B2B sites or building whole new sites to deliver B2C-like eCommerce experiences.
- Increasing Channel Conflict Between Direct Sales Organizations and eCommerce Operations. As the eCommerce option becomes a more viable alternative to a traditional direct sales model, companies are increasingly migrating their offline customers to more cost-effective, self-serve, online-only environments. In addition, they’re now focusing their sales reps exclusively on acquiring and retaining higher-margin and higher-volume key account customers.
- Rising Demand For Scarce B2B eCommerce Talent. With the demand for B2B eCommerce talent continuing to greatly outstrip the supply of qualified and competent workers, B2B eCommerce leaders are now taking unconventional approaches to staffing their B2B eCommerce operations. For example, they’re actively poaching from B2C companies and retraining internal employees to become eCommerce team members.
At$559 billion in sales placed over the Web, US B2B eCommerce has proven that eCommerce is no longer just the province of B2C companies. But perhaps the most important endorsement of the potential inherent in the space is the fact that B2C giants like Amazon are now moving in.